Tips for Tactful Time of Service Collections

Collecting from patients at the time of service is crucial to the financial well-being of your medical practice or hospital; however, this simple step is often forgotten or not enforced. Whether your medical facility is implementing a new time of service policy or trying to enforce an existing one, it will take some getting used to, both for patients and staff. With some adjustment time and healthcare collections training for employees, your healthcare organization should see a positive change in the health of its accounts receivables.

Plan Ahead

Do your patients know before they walk in the door that they are expected to pay their co-pays or deductibles before their appointment? Make sure your employees mention this when scheduling appointments, and consider including a note about this policy with your appointment reminders.

Also, whenever possible, let patients know how much they can expect to pay ahead of time. Giving them an idea of their financial responsibility beforehand will increase the likelihood of on-time payment.

Ask the Right Questions

Remember that it’s not about how many times you ask but about how the asking is done. If your office is enforcing time of service collections, then patients should never be asked whether they are going to pay or not. Instead, staff should focus on questions such as, “How will you be paying your co-pay today?” and letting patients know what the different payment options available are.

Know Your Policy

If a patient declines to make their payment, make sure staff members are ready with scripted answers. Will your practice turn patients away? Will you try to set up payment plans? Are patients allowed to call or mail their payments in later? Whatever your policies are, your employees should know and understand them well.

Interested in learning more about healthcare collections and accounts receivable training? Click here for information about our healthcare seminars, collection resources and other training tools.

This information is not to be construed as legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Although we attempt to provide up-to-date information, laws and regulations often change. We make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of this document. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.
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